Bulletin No.: 11/1999

Date (Y-M-D): 1999-09-08

Subject: Interim Passenger Vessel Compliance Program

This Bulletin replaces Bulletin No. 07/1987 and has been replaced by Bulletin No. 04/2001.

The change in the definition of "passenger" in the Canada Shipping Act ( CSA ) became effective on October 31, 1998 and as a result vessels which were operating as uninspected charter vessels, are now subject to regulations as passenger vessels.

On October 31, 1999, it is anticipated that S. 406 of the Canada Shipping Act may be amended by the proclamation of provisions contained in the last amendment of the CSA . The amendment will raise the regulatory threshold for inspection from 5 Gross Registered Tonnage ( GRT ) to 15 GRT for vessels carrying not more than 12 passengers. These vessels will no longer be inspected on an annual basis, however, they will be subject to a new regulatory regime which is being developed and will be subject to an audit to ensure compliance rather than the traditional annual inspection.


Due to changes in the Canada Shipping Act, many owners and operators throughout Canada will be obliged to raise the safety standards of their vessels. Full compliance with the applicable regulations or standards must be effected by December 31, 2000. This interim program is designed to promote safety and at the same time offer affected owners and operators a reasonable time to deal with the changes. A new regulatory regime is under development and will be phased in using this program as a "stepping stone"

No action should be taken to modify a vessel before consulting a Marine Safety office.


This interim program applies to all existing conventional monohull vessels over 8.5 meters length overall ( LOA ) and/or other vessels over 5 GRT up to 60 GRT , which are currently carrying up to 49 passengers, as per the new definition in the CSA , or plan to convert to the carriage of passengers during 1999. Please contact your nearest Marine Safety Office to determine if your ship is a passenger vessel.

Full compliance with passenger ship requirements may be phased-in. However, vessels may continue to operate provided they comply with the Interim Guidelines in which case Marine Safety will issue a Notice of Survey. All Interim Notices of Survey will expire not later than May 1, 2001, coincident with the expiry of the phase-in period.

It is emphasized that this program is limited to vessels engaged on domestic voyages.

Please contact your nearest Marine Safety office to obtain the Interim Guidelines and to determine if your vessel is a passenger ship.


Passenger vessels, not in excess of 5 GRT , that do not carry more than twelve passengers are subject to the Small Vessel Regulations. Such vessels are presently exempt from annual inspection of the vessel and certification of the crew.

Passenger vessels, over 5 GRT or under 5 GRT , carrying more than 12 passengers must meet stringent requirements covering matters such as structural fire protection, stability and crew competence. Passenger vessels are built to plans approved by the Board of Steamship Inspection (Marine Safety) and are subject to inspection during construction, annual inspection and certification. Crew sufficiency and efficiency is confirmed at each inspection.

These vessels must comply with one or more of the following:

  1. Hull Construction Regulations
  2. Standards for the Construction and Inspection of Small Passenger Vessels, TP 11717
  3. Construction Standards for Small Vessels, TP 1332

The application section of each of the above publications should be checked to ascertain applicability.


The responsibility for requesting an inspection rests with the owner or operator under the terms of the Canada Shipping Act.

When any inspection is requested, an Inspector from Marine Safety, Transport Canada will conduct a thorough survey to determine the degree of compliance with the regulations/standards. This will result in three possible situations:

  1. The vessel complies fully with all current regulations/standards for a passenger ship; in which case a passenger ship certificate, appropriate to the vessel and type of voyage will be issued.
  2. Should an exemption or equivalency be requested, the owner must make appropriate application to the Board of Steamship Inspection through the Regional Director, Marine Safety, in which the owner will agree to a schedule for completion of all outstanding items as determined by the Inspectors, within the phase-in period.

    An Inspection Certificate may be issued subject to the exemption or equivalency being approved by the Board of Steamship Inspections.
  3. The vessel does not currently comply fully with the regulations/standards, however compliance can be achieved within a reasonable period of time, but in no case later than December 31, 2000. In the interim period, the vessel will comply with the provisions of the Interim Guidelines and a Notice of Survey will be issued.

    The owner will agree to a schedule for completion of all outstanding items as determined by the inspection, within the phase-in period.

    In applying this program; limitations on the voyage, the season of operation or other operational limitations will be considered as well as equivalent provisions. Vessels will be treated on a case by case basis.

Further information

Any questions regarding the Interim Passenger Vessel Compliance Program should be addressed to the nearest Marine Safety office, the Regional Director or to Headquarters, Marine Safety, Transport Canada.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Interim passenger vessel
2. Small passenger vessel
3. Uninspected charter vessel
Kin Tue-Fee
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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